Tiffin tins originate in India, where Indian wives use them to send fresh homemade lunches to their husbands at the office. In a daily miracle of organisation, the tins are picked up by dabba wallas, who use a coding system to set the tins on a complex journey to their destination. The trip for each of the thousands of tins sent each day can involve many changes of transport, but nevertheless, the tins arrive on the right desk in time for lunch.

Official recognition of the efficiency of this system has come from an unlikely source. American business magazine, Forbes has given Mumbai’s dabba wallas their top performance rating, acknowledging their almost perfect delivery record – only one in every six million tins fails to arrive. Not bad for a system that has no documentation!

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